This project provides a wealth of gothic horror steampunk, aka "fleshpunk", rules and resources.
It's three books. These can be used in any combination: each is useful on its own, or they can be used all together for a fuller and more immersive enhancement to your RPG setting.
Although these books were created to take place within the campaign setting of Aquilae, all content in all products can fit easily into all existing campaign settings, or your homebrew setting.
Designed for Pathfinder and 5E, the core concepts and innovations can arguably be used in any fantasy RPG rules system.
If you have any taste for steampunk, golems, elementals, and/or mad scientists in your RPG setting, consider pledging.
Even if you dislike any of these concepts on their own, you may well find the unique mixture presented in Incarnae to be appealing.
(Incarnae of Aquilae as a single book was unlocked as a Stretch Goal in a prior Kickstarter.)
The premise is somewhat straightforward, but intriguing, and was always intended to be a component of a broader design.
Automata, constructs, and fleshbots now inhabit and dominate the former kingdom of Nycarrad in Aquilae, the campaign setting in which Infinium Game Studios' adventures take place. That said, there's no reason you couldn't take these concepts and drop them right into any campaign setting or homebrew.
Gauntlets & Gaslight describes weapons, armor, items, machinery, tools, vehicles, monsters, characters, spells, classes, factions, and more that breathe new, exciting, macabre life into your fantasy RPG campaign.
It consists of three books, each usable on its own, but also designed to work together.
- Incarnae of Aquilae: Bestiary. Dozens of unique golem/elemental constructs, each the physical embodiment of an abstract concept.
- Artifacts & Artifice: Incarnae. Dozens of mad-scientist-style steampunk artifacts, used in or associated with the forging of Incarnae.
- Gauntlets & Gaslight Forgebook. The "core book" of the project, intended to provide a wealth of rules and resources for gothic horror steampunk roleplaying.
Steampunk is relatively well-known in RPG circles: the genre of pseudo-machines, generally still in the context of medieval technology, and often in a setting that mimics Victorian England. Steam-powered, weird science engines make possible clockwork assistants, tanks, cars, and all manner of machinery that is otherwise impossible at these tech levels.
Gothic Horror is also a much-beloved RPG theme. Ravenloft is arguably the famous and enduring take on the genre, though there are many other flavors in play across various RPG rules systems.
Comparably rare, though: the combination of these concepts, with a unique crafting approach to forging the monsters and machines that give the theme life.
Gauntlets & Gaslight takes Steampunk and Gothic Horror, adds a healthy dash of Frankenstein-esque mad science, and blends them together, then brings them to life with a lightning rod and a hacksaw. You can call the result "fleshpunk" if you want.
Machines and clockwork technology are possible... but often come at a terrible and grisly price. Macabre rituals, rust-ridden and jury-rigged machinery, and the relentless pursuit of technological advancement without heed to the side effects have resulted in a horrible consequence: the destruction of an empire.
Whereas Golems and Elementals tend to be physical qualities given a mobile, semi-sentient form, Incarnae are coalesced physical manifestations of abstract concepts and phenomena--psychological qualities, feelings, thoughts, and so on.
Lust, revenge, regret, rage, greed... these are the tip of the iceberg. One might argue a Succubus is more or less a "Lust Elemental", and a Tarrasque may qualify as a "Rage Elemental". Okay, sure; those slots are filled, kind of, via established bestiaries.
But what about more abstract notions?
What about a Chrysalism Incarna, a being that embodies the peaceful solitude of remaining safely indoors during torrential weather?
Or a Vellichor Incarna: a manifestation of the peculiar attraction and wandering-mind sense of being in a used bookstore?
There are dozens--well over 100--of these sad, odd, unusual, and ultimately potent notions, given material form via a complex set of machinery, maps, magic, and materials.
If you're entitled to a hardcopy of a product, you are also automatically entitled to the digital version as well.
Every product you're entitled to with your pledge is fulfilled via DriveThruRPG. Every book PDF is delivered in two versions: one "normal" that's just as the printed page appears, and another "print/mobile friendly" version that removes the parchment-colored background.
All books and PDFs are full-color.
Every product that contains maps also comes with ultra-high-resolution (4K+) digital image files of all the maps in the book. Each map also comes in both a GM, or normal/full, version, as well as a "player-redacted" version that hides secrets and map keys.
Here's an example of a basement map in both these formats:
At the core of this campaign is the product that was originally unlocked in a prior Kickstarter: a 200+ page, hardcover book and full-color PDF.
Incarnae of Aquilae: Bestiary is a book describing the titular creatures, constructs that serve as physical incarnations of abstract concepts.
At funding, the book will consist of around two dozen such monsters. This can be expanded greatly via Stretch Goals.
Each monster is a richly-detailed product unto itself, spanning 4-10 pages, and comes with:
- The "Quadded Statblock" treatment.
- Full rules for forging the incarna, with crafting recipes.
- Variant iterations of the incarna, reflecting different strengths/weaknesses/abilities and effects.
- A thorough description of its design, intent, and use.
- Hooks, adventure suggestions, and other tools to instantly "drop in" to any adventure environment or campaign.
What is the Quadded Statblock treatment? This simply means that each monster comes with four complete statblocks, so it's usable across a wide range of difficulty levels to support adventuring with PCs of ANY level and capability.
Those familiar with Infinium Game Studios' Artifacts & Artifice books already know how we get crazily obsessed with detail around magical artifacts. That series of books, produced on the back of a hugely successful Kickstarter, dedicated 8-12 pages to each magic item, with rich, full-color artwork for each.
Part of the awesomeness of what makes the Incarnae approach to steampunk so interesting is its artifacts: its machinery, magic, and macabreness that imbues the monsters with such power and wonder.
Designed as equal parts Mad Scientist Laboratory, Gothic Horror, and Victorian Steampunk, the resultant objects are unique, singular, and sure to enhance any campaign setting.
At funding, Artifacts & Artifice: Incarnae will be a full-color softcover book, containing at least 10 items. This will grow considerably, and at some point will be converted into a hardcover tome.
Each magical item described is intended to contain the following... that's intentionally vague, as I might end up doing, say, 30 items with commissioned illustrations, but also want to cram in another 50 items just from a mechanics and sourcebook standpoint; I'd rather include a ton of content even if some of it doesn't come with artwork:
- Full-color artwork (see example below).
- Quadded Statblock approach: Each magical item is in fact FOUR separate items, of varying potency according to a rough range of PC level and power. Thus the Anathema Engine shown below would actually be presented as four items: a Low Anathema Engine, a Moderate Anathema Engine, an Advanced Anathema Engine, and an Elite Anathema Engine. While of course many aspects of the devices remain the same across these four iterations, it allows each artifact to be useful no matter what the party's capabilities.
- Description and crunch effect, cost, etc. with example statblock(s).
- History and background.
- Rumors and lore.
- Hooks to integrate the item into any campaign or adventure.
Grab a free PDF of the Abhorrent Naginata, a magical weapon, as an example (Pathfinder).
Below please find a preview of one such magical item, the Anathema Engine.
Incarnae of Aquilae: Forgebook is the "core book" of Gauntlets & Gaslight.
It is a standalone full-color softcover dedicated to the creation of gothic horror steampunk machinery, artifacts, arms, and armor.
I've always found "crafting" in roleplaying games--video or tabletop--to be a niche, love-it-or-hate-it sort of game-within-a-game. The insane popularity of Minecraft, and the extensive subgenre of games dedicated purely or almost entirely to crafting, make it clear that there are MANY out there who love crafting.
For those who enjoy crafting, there is a rich, furiously detailed, and crazily deep set of rules whereby a character can almost literally create a fleshpunk device that does ANYTHING at all that's possible via other means (spells, feats, skills, racial/class abilities, and so on). There are the Full/Advanced Rules.
For those just looking to grab a fancy steampunk lightning rifle, and could care less how many Aetheric Essence Pods are necessary to forge one, there will also be Simple Rules. These reduce forging down to a very accessible set of needs: a Template, and money; time required is a function of the cost calculated.
The descriptions involved in both approaches and rulesets link back to the overall mythology of Incarnae and the "fleshpunk" approach to steampunk.
Also included in this ambitious tome:
- New Feats, Skills, and Spells.
- New Items (note these are separate from, and more general than, those in the "Incarnae: Artifacts & Artifice" book, see above).
- New Classes: riffs, if you will, on each "base" class, reflecting a fleshpunk version of Fighters, Bards, Wizards, etc.
If there's one thing I've learned across a dozen successful Kickstarters, it's that I cannot anticipate backer enthusiasm.
I have literally dozens of ideas for Stretch Goals, but I want to keep things sane. So I'll keep things tame for the time being.
I'll also be taking a new, crowdsourced, approach to Stretch Goals this time around: each time a new Stretch Goal is to be defined, I will offer a few options, and whichever is most popular will win and be the Stretch Goal.
- UNLOCKED! $3,500: The Strifebuilt: Free PDF to all non-Lurker backers; hardcopy available as an Add-On.
- $5,000: Additional Content: Free PDF to all non-Lurker backers; hardcopy available as an Add-On. If you're a backer, please vote here for the nature of this Stretch Goal.
Here's a hint of what I have in mind:
- Nycarrad: A fallen kingdom, brought low by the takeover of machines and automata. Part of the Western Realm of Aquilae.
- The Strifebuilt: Constructs, clockworks, Incarnae, and more Forged created to serve, but ended up ruling, the hollowed-out realm of Nycarrad.
- Aetheric Nightmares: A bestiary of the Strifebuilt, from drone to city-sized mecha.
- The Vertabris: The sentient, organic resistance to the Strifebuilt. (Think John Connor and his forces, in the future envisioned by the Terminator movies.)
- Such Things As: A gothic horror steampunk rendition on every major horror trope.
- Pax Mechanus: Armies of the Strifebuilt, a faction book.
- ...and so on...
This section will be populated once we hit our funding target.
Following the Kickstarter campaign--assuming we are successful, that is!--I will send out a BackerKit survey. Here, you'll have the option of confirming your choices and information, and picking up Add-Ons: additional products, largely already published, that you might also want, generally at a significant discount from their "retail" prices.
If you know you want one or more Add-Ons, simply add that amount to your Kickstarter pledge. This makes the BackerKit process following the KS campaign more straightforward for you, but also makes sure that those funds get counted toward Stretch Goal unlocks!
Incarnae of Aquilae was unlocked as a Stretch Goal in a previous Kickstarter. Since then, it has been either an optional Add-On, or included outright, in a few projects.
So there are lots of folks who are already entitled to "Incarnae of Aquilae". This Kickstarter will expand what those folks receive, for free, already.
If you are one of them, then you automatically receive digital versions of ALL PRODUCTS in this Kickstarter. That includes, as of this writing:
- Incarnae of Aquilae: Bestiary (which is closest to the original intent of what was unlocked)
- Artifacts & Artifice: Incarnae
- Incarnae of Aquilae: Forgebook
Those entitled to hardcopy of "Incarnae of Aquilae" will receive Incarnae of Aquilae: Bestiary in hardcover.
Western Realm Gazetteer Backers
ALL backers of the Western Realm Gazetteer kickstarter, and those entitled to the WRG, will automatically receive ALL digital rewards for the Incarnae kickstarter for FREE.
In addition, WRG KS backers who pledged at Hardened Global Citizen level or above will receive hardcopies of Incarnae products FREE, with free shipping, as they are published.
IGS Temporal Disclaimer
Short version: If you're time-sensitive, please carefully read this and consider before pledging!
Indie RPG work like this is a passion of mine, a hobby. A very successful hobby, one that I'm fortunate to be able to share with many hundreds of backers and customers.
But I'm just one person, with a full-time job, and three kids. My ability to estimate my throughput is... not terrific. On the upside, however, my ability to estimate what I will output is also not great, but I err on the side of OVER producing. My books typically end up being MUCH larger than originally conceived, to the point where I usually lose money on hardcopy pledges as a result.
So, net/net, it's the simple, honest truth that I take longer than expected to produce. But I tend to produce a lot more than expected.
I have an entire bookshelf of published work, and have delivered successfully on many kickstarters already, to the general pleasure of those backers who report their feedback.
I try to be as transparent as possible about where I am, what I'm working on, and what that means. Nearly all backers tend to be okay with that, so long as there's progress. For some backers, that's unacceptable. As a back of hundreds of indie RPG Kickstarter projects myself, I can appreciate both perspectives: I myself want to give project owners all the time they feel they need to produce what they are passionate about, but I am sometimes wary of the risks involved in a project not materializing.
So: If you are a backer who is very time-sensitive to their rewards, I encourage you to take a more "wait and see" approach to this project. I would rather have you not back, than back, and then be disappointed.
I dedicate, quite literally, every single spare minute I have in my life beyond my job and family to this work. So I can absolutely promise that I will deliver. When, however... that is more of a question mark.
Other fine-print miscellany that may be relevant:
- All digital product delivery will be done via DriveThruRPG/RPGnow/OneBookShelf.
- All PDFs and hardcopies will be full-color unless otherwise indicated.
- Any pledge that entitles you to Product X in hardcopy also automatically entitles you to Product X in PDF/digital format.
- Already-published products will be fulfilled shortly after the campaign's completion.
- All other products will be fulfilled as they are published.
- "Estimated Delivery" dates for all pledges and rewards are just that: estimates. These also reflect the earliest anticipated publication.
- Note that this campaign aims to produce multiple products; each will be fulfilled ASAP as it is published. There is no additional shipping charge for this; any shipping charge as part of a pledge level covers all products included in that pledge.
The above information was accurate as of the project's inception. Please see the campaign description for the latest information on all these topics as the project evolves.
Risks and challenges
The major risk is time: IGS is almost entirely a one-man shop, and that one man has three young children and a full-time day job. I devote literally every spare minute of downtime to IGS, and to making our products the absolute best, most impressive, and most valuable/usable books I can conceive of, but that devotion to quality amidst other demands takes time.
I will deliver. And I hope you agree that it will be more than worth the wait and pledge dollar. But my estimates as to when are just that: estimates. If you're comfortable with getting what I try to make world-class indie RPG books for a significant discount, and don't mind waiting a bit, then please consider pledging, supporting, and helping to make the results even more awesome!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (38 days)